Blog, Coffee Break Sundays

Coffee Break Sundays 1/20/19

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1/20/19              COFFEE BREAK SUNDAY

My goodness, it’s Sunday again already!  And this time, I came armed with muffins… Oh yes! (Yes, I really did bake these).

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What could be better to kick off a lazy Sunday morning than a cup of coffee and a homemade blueberry muffin? And by lazy, I indeed do mean slouching around all day doing precisely nothing at all.

Is it strange to think that this blogging malarkey is starting to feel almost normal now? Almost. It’s part of my everyday life, and yes it’s difficult to find time to create content sometimes but I couldn’t imagine my life as a writer without this place now.

So, what have I been up to this week? I feel like I have finally got into the groove of this year after a tricky start. I don’t know about you, but I set way too many new year’s resolutions – and most are already in the bin. I think it’s important to set reasonable goals. The idea that you can just change your whole lifestyle by doing this-that-and-this is just so unrealistic.

So this is my new, new year’s resolution:

Set realistic, reasonable goals! (And smash them)

I kicked off this week with a piece of flash fiction called ‘A Distant Land‘, playing with reality and seeking out our world from a different viewpoint. It also brings into focus the issue of pollution and plastic in our oceans, something that we have to take the time to think about and change.

My piece ‘Meet My Fiancée…‘ earnt me my first every badge over at YeahWrite, which I believe is a good thing! Things like this affirm that my writing is improving over time with the help of constructive criticism and that’s just great. I also really love writing comedy, so I hope to bring more of that to you in the coming weeks.

I closed out the week with a visit to the ‘Gateway of India‘ – come travel with me! I have let the blogging side of things slip a little this week (I’m looking at you Fabulous Fiction Fridays!) but I felt that last week was quite blog-heavy, so I’m trying my best to strike the right balance. I’m hopeful that this will come with time!

Well that’s my coffee gone and a blueberry muffin (or two) devoured so I’ll leave you to get on with the rest of your day. Thanks for joining me for another catch-up, I can’t wait to see what the next week brings.

R.J. x

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Photo by Anna Voss on Unsplash

 

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What Pegman Saw, Writing

Gateway of India

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Photo by Parth Vyas on Unsplash

Mumbai, India

“On the 2nd of December 1911, Queen Mary of England, the wife to King George V made her way through the Gateway of India for the first time. Today it stands as one of India’s most popular tourist attractions, affectionately known as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai.”

Marina Scott stared at her tour guide with intrigue as he regurgitated the same facts that he had many times previously. He was a handsome man – deep brown eyes and a smile that shone as he interacted with his audience. She was enthralled, not so much by the great history of Mumbai, but by the attractive stranger whom she knew only as ‘Rahul, your tour-guide for today’.

She attempted to catch his attention as the tour continued, through the gateway.

As she wiped the sweat off her brow, an elderly lady fell to the floor dramatically. She had succumbed to the heat, her presumed husband (just as elderly and infirm) flailed his arms around in panic. ‘Rahul’ attended to the patient immediately, calm and with confidence.

‘That’s it for today everybody’ he spoke, ending the tour on the spot. Marina took one last look at the best attraction on the tour before turning away from the unknowing man, back towards the city in which she was still a stranger.


Produced using a prompt from What Pegman Saw. Since I kinda missed the deadline on this one, I deviated from the word-count a little. Constructive criticism always welcome.

If you would like to read more of my work, please feel free to take a look at my latest piece: ‘Meet My Fiancée…Thank you for reading!

R.J. x

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Writing, YeahWrite

Meet My Fiancée…

This evening was much like any other. I sat yawning at the dining table as Mother and my perfect little sister, Libby, discussed the wedding. I stress that this is definitely the wedding, and not just a wedding.

Oh no, Mother has gone out of her way to ensure that this is the social occasion of the year, the best day of her daughter’s life. Sixteen whole sides of freshly-smoked, Scottish salmon have been ordered for the wedding breakfast and the Vicar has been ordered not to trip over his words during the service at the expense of her family’s reputation – despite his years of experience.

In front of us sat a work of art, a common topic of conversation – the seating plan. I’ve heard six times this evening alone how Lady Bunty Larinstoff, the highly regarded President of the Lawn Tennis Association can not (NOT) possibly sit within two tables of Melissa Mcorkadale, or quite frankly, the whole day will be a total disaster. I sat dazed, until a shrill voice awoke me.

“And what about you, Sissy?” Libby, my perfect-in-every-way little sister asked smugly. “Have we got a name for your plus-one yet?” she smirked, pointing to the only blank space on the table plan, next to my name. “Who’s the lucky guy?”

What happened next, shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I don’t even know how it happened.

“I HAVE A FIANCÉE!” my mouth blared with the force of an opera singer. This revelation was met with two blank faces, who stared at each other for a moment. The room deathly quiet, my cheeks red with utter shock at what I had just said.

“YOU?” Libby exclaimed. “ENGAGED?”

Hysterical laughter followed from both my mother and my sister for what seemed like forever. Knee-slapping, snorting. Tears ran from Mother’s eyes.

“No, no, of course, Sissy!” Libby backtracked, fanning herself with her hand in an attempt to regain composure. “So when will we meet the lucky guy?”

“AT THE WEDDING!” I did it again. Why won’t I stop talking?

“Really?” both women asked in unison, still clearly baffled.

“YES. YES. YOU’LL SEE. BECAUSE I AM A CATCH” I attempted to string a sentence together as I swaggered towards the door, leaving the room and slamming the door behind me like a child.

Laughter continued.


It was the day of Libby’s wedding, and I was still a notorious singleton in my mid-thirties. I had approximately three hours and twenty eight minutes to find an utterly gorgeous man who I must convince to not only accompany me to a wedding full of people he has never met, but also to propose to me on the spot. What could possibly go wrong?

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Photo by Jose Martinez on Unsplash


It was time for the wedding reception, time for my family to meet my mystery man. I had bluffed my way through the service itself by pretending that my gorgeous Prince Charming had popped off to the the bathroom – what horrific timing! But I couldn’t avoid the truth for much longer.

As the party walked towards the marquee I spotted a young, awkward-looking man amongst the sea of people. Pale, red-haired, not at all muscular. Not my usual type, but needs must. I ran towards him, abandoning my heels in the process.

I grabbed him by the shoulder and smiled. “ME, YOUR GIRLFR-FIANCEE. WE’RE IN LOVE. CANTEXPLAINANYMOREIMSORRY” He stared back at me with an expression of confusion, shock, and also fear.

Predominantly fear.

As my sister approached me and my new-found beau (if only he knew), I glued a fake smile onto my face and clasped my arms around his body. He let out a small squeak.

“Here he is!” she squealed with excitement, an action I copied without really knowing why. “Lovely to meet you…” she trailed off, waiting for my future husband to reveal his identity as she shook his hand warmly.

“GEOFF…ERY” I screamed, before the poor man beside me had chance to reveal the truth. Libby staggered backwards at the volume of my introduction.

“Actually, my name’s M-Matthew” the red-haired stranger next to me stuttered. I froze in shock as he spoke “And I have no idea who this woman is. She’s unhinged!” He began to bawl his eyes out, clearly traumatised by this whirlwind romance.

He retreated, slowly.

“THAT’S IT, WALK AWAY. A REAL MAN WOULD RUN!” I rolled my eyes, met with a blank gaze by my sister, who was clearly trying to process what the hell had just happened.

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Blog, Weekly Wisdom

Weekly Wisdom (1/16/19)

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Welcome to another post in the Weekly Wisdom series. You may wonder what the point of this post is, and I get that. This is a writing blog, right? A place to share my work?

Well sure, but I also feel like I need a place to relax and that’s what Weekly Wisdom is to me. Not only am I sharing my favourite quotes and spiritual habits with you, I’m also reminding myself of how great they are. Really, these are selfish posts, a space away from writing for me to get spiritual and encourage self-love.

It’s so important that we take time out for ourselves, so let’s get to it!


Quote of the Week: fsfitzgerald

Today’s quote comes from author F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century in my view. This quote of his resonates perfectly with me.

We are often told that as writers we need to find our own ‘Voice’ when we are writing. This is something that makes our work truly ours, completely unique. It is the writer’s individual writing style, their own self put into words.

When there are so many different ideas and characters swirling around your head, each with their own unique voice and dialect it can be difficult to pin down what works for you. Sometimes I do feel like I haven’t quite figured out my one ‘Voice’ yet and instead have lots of different voices battling it out until I find one that I’m happy with. Maybe it’ll happen relatively soon, or maybe it won’t. I think the main thing is not to pile on too much pressure and let things be.


Goal of the Week:

Following on with the same theme, I also believe that it’s important that we take more time out for ourselves. This can be difficult to do when we have so many prompts to work with, genres to fit, submission guidelines to follow. This week, I want you to join me in writing something for yourself. Just for you. Not for a contest, not for submission. Just for pure enjoyment.

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Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

I sometimes feel that it’s easy to fall out of love with writing. I know that sounds crazy, but when you have deadlines to meet and blog posts to write, the pressure can mount up pretty easily. I’m determined to maintain writing as an activity that I enjoy first and foremost. When it becomes ‘work’ it becomes a chore, and I don’t want that. I want to enjoy my writing and I want people to feel that when they read.

Go back to that project you started months ago and make time for yourself to write some more. Start on that idea that you’ve been thinking about for some time but have put off. Or even, write a letter to yourself. Remind yourself why you love to do this, to write. So when you’re feeling down or want to throw the towel in, you can motivate yourself with your own words.


Thanks again for joining me for another dose of wisdom.

If you would like to support me, please do head over and take a look at my latest piece of flash fiction A Distant Land if you haven’t already.

R.J. x

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Photo by Davies Designs on Unsplash

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Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing

A Distant Land

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Photo: Fandango

Towering skyscrapers and an expansive bridge, my view of ‘The City’ as its simply known by our kind is magnificent. Indeed, I have the best outlook in the entire ocean.

Day after day I sit and watch as the boats of its’ inhabitants invade our waters come sunrise. A number of vessels pass me by during the day, I wave as they go, but little response is given. I bow my head with sadness until the next guests come by my home.

Many curious items wash up during the day, although I am at a loss as to what they are. The dolphins once informed me of something called plastic, perhaps this is the mysterious creature itself.

It gets lonely out here, out on the rocks, exposed to mother nature’s violence – crashing waves and whipping winds. Especially at night, when all is quiet, but this is when The City is at its most beautiful.

A display of lights, slowly growing after sunset. The show fades as the day begins once more, restoring my optimum view of man’s civilisation.

The City is the sculpture that I’ve been blessed to view and I wouldn’t change that for the world, not any world.


This piece was produced using a writing prompt from Sunday Photo Fiction.

Constructive criticism is always welcome, thank you for reading!

R.J. x

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Blog, Coffee Break Sundays

Coffee Break Sundays 1/13/19

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1/13/19                  COFFEE BREAK SUNDAY

Another week has passed, and it sure went quicker than the last! I’m back into the swing of things after the New Year festivities but I haven’t been nearly as productive as I’d liked to have been. Thanks for joining me for another coffee, let’s get to the chat!

My productivity has definitely been down on last week, including on the blog. I took some great steps including purchasing my domain (YAAAAAYYYY!) and approaching new genres, but overall I’ve produced less content and haven’t been able to write as much as I’d liked to have done.

Truth be told, I’ve had an awful virus and the brain fog had well and truly taken over. Here’s to a better week!

That aside, what have I actually managed to achieve? Well, I wrote a couple of pieces of flash fiction. My piece ‘Mirror, Mirror‘ takes on the genre of Magical Realism (before the challenge at YeahWrite, I totally didn’t know such a thing existed) but I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I love how I’m learning so much in this community.

My second piece ‘When We Were Young‘ is one I’m particularly happy with. This is the kind of genre that I really love to read and write, and yes, it definitely is named after the Adele song.

I’ve also continued my Fabulous Fiction Fridays series, so in case you missed that, it featured Still Loved, Still Missed and is definitely worth a read. I’ve probably partaken in more blogging than writing this week but sometimes you just have to do what works for you! Although I definitely intend to focus on writing.

That’s it for this week, except to say thank you so much for joining me and I hope you stay with me for the next week. It really does make my day when I read a kind comment (or even helpful, constructive criticism!) so thank you for your comments.

Well, that’s my coffee gone in record time but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

R.J. x

I couldn’t resist leaving you with a bit of Adele, so get your Sunday off to an even better start with this beauty of a song! Enjoy.

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creativewriting.ie, Writing

When We Were Young

I still remember that day. The day when I lost him.


Jamie and I would stay with our Aunt Isabelle every other weekend, we would watch old movies together whilst eating her famous sugar cookies. He would always have one too many, the greedy pig. Isabelle used to warn him about the ‘tummy tickles’ but he just couldn’t resist that sweet almond icing and those sprinkles. His bright blue eyes used to widen right up every time he saw ’em. I swear that lady must have had a whole pantry full of sprinkles as every visit they were made up differently, just for us.

The last time I tasted one of those cookies with my brother by my side was the day before it happened.

On that day, after all the biscuits had been devoured, we spotted a man stood out on Aunt Isabelle’s porch. She didn’t ever have a man round, heck, she didn’t ever have a woman round. In our minds, she waited thirteen days for our return and made more cookies in the meantime. The man seemed a little brutish to two small children. Large features, dark hair, built as big as they come. We never found out who he was, but I remember Aunt Isabelle screamin’ at him right to this day.

She shooed him outta the yard, down in to the distance through the dead, black trees. ‘Inquisitive’ children that we were, (Momma said we were ‘Royal pains in the butt!’ but Aunt Isabelle always had a better way with words) we followed the fighting, screaming adults out onto the porch so we could get a better view of the drama.

The skies were dark, it would soon be night-time, the cold told me so. Only in our comfy loungewear (made for eating junk and watching movies) the freezing air swept through our bodies as we watched the show unfold. It wasn’t long before the big, bad man had gone and Isabelle made her way back to the house, ushering us back inside towards the warm fire.

‘STUPID CHILDREN,’ she hollered, tears streaming down her face. ‘YOU ARE NOT TO BE OUTSIDE THIS TIME O’ NIGHT. YOU HEAR ME? YOU WILL CATCH YOUR DEATHS!’ she reaffirmed. This was the only time Aunt Isabelle would ever truly scare me and Jamie. I could feel him shaking beside me, wondering where his sugar-cookie baking fairy godmother had gone.

Looking back, I can see whatever happened to Aunt Isabelle that day with the strange man really hurt her deeply. I saw it right up until her death, some years later. Her warm heart had been thawed for some unknown reason. Of course, as a child I wasn’t quite so understanding.

That night, me and Jamie made an escape plan, to get back home to Mom and Dad. Never before had we wanted to go back home in our lives, I can assure you. I gathered essentials like my favourite Barbie whilst Jamie raided the kitchen for supplies. He returned with a box of pancake mix, half a loaf of bread and a spare cookie he must’ve had stashed somewhere.

We set off a few minutes later, towards the trees that were once black and dead. Perhaps they were still black and dead, but aside the night sky it was hard to tell.

What happened next is a little blurry to me, all I can say is that I lost my little brother that night, my Jamie. Never again would I tease him, cuddle him, or steal the last sweetie in the packet. I didn’t know until afterwards, but all of that’s pretty difficult to do when you’re dead.


Yes, my name was Caitlyn Marie Alaina and I died that night, aged nine, so my gravestone says anyhow. My family still visit sometimes, but I guess a lot of time has passed since then.

Aunt Isabelle has joined me since, and the visits from my Jamie become less and less frequent. I barely recognise him now, so muscular and so much facial hair. Why, he’s a man. Although, deep down I’m sure that he’s still the same seven-year-old sugar cookie guzzler that he always was.


Composed using a writing prompt from creativewriting.ie

Constructive criticism is always welcome. Thank you for reading! 

R.J. x

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